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By Ignacio Martín-Baró

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The point is most clearly illustrated by maps, which represent the order in pictorial form. Nature and Culture Climate and geography appear to be historical constants. For this reason they are regarded as crucial historical sources. By looking at a place and its climate it is possible to throw light on the events of the past that occurred in the same place. Examination of a battlefield may confirm or falsify or explain a literary account of an engagement that occurred there a thousand years before.

49). This criticism of the schematism of early maps should not be taken to mean that Herodotus aspired to an “objective” understanding of the physical character of the world. His own conceptions of geography were perhaps not so geometrical as those of earlier philosophers; still they were typical of the beliefs of the day, and served, as we might have expected, to reinforce social practices and beliefs of the Greeks. ” The “equatorial” dividing line between north and south was marked by the “Royal Road” of a neighboring super-power, the Persian Empire.

7) Some historians too can be critical, or at least think in different ways, about the relationship between culture and environment. Less essential, more circumstantial arguments are to be found. All ancients were aware as a practical matter that geographic and environmental factors mattered, and could use them in making specific decisions, whether military or economic. Thucydides, for example, can make an argument that seems very modern in its character: at the beginning of his work he suggests that in early Greece GEOGRAPHY 33 migrations were common, prompting overpopulation.

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